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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Using Songs To Teach

I love the power of songs to aid in memorization. Lately around our house I've been singing a little song I made up to the cub scout law to help one of my sons who was having trouble learning it. I was thankful when earlier this year my daughter's school teacher sent home a book of songs to go with her multiplication facts. It so much easier to remember things when you put them in a song.
So I was delighted when I discovered a few new "piano" songs this week.
Thanks to Wendy at Compose Create for her post on some fantastic new games, my preschoolers are excited about piano practice this week because of the fun Piano Discoveries videos on You Tube that we watched together. I love how it teaches students how to identify & draw the clefs and landmark notes through song. For some reinforcement of the Landmark Notes, we used my magnetic dry erase board and magnet notes with this clever "Barnyard Board" staff from the Piano Discoveries site. Don't you love the cute drawing of the Middle C Cat that my son came up with spontaneously?
My students also enjoyed this catchy FACE song to help them learn the treble space notes. After watching this video my son was excited to beat his score on the Treble Clef Notes on Music Ace.

Another one of my favorite "teaching" songs is the GBDFA song from Susan Paradis's site.
Do you have any favorite songs for teaching piano concepts?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Teaching More Than Piano

"A good teacher realizes that his most important purpose in teaching is-
First, to inspire the student to love study; awaken within him a desire to rise above himself.
Second, to teach the student how to study; train him to think. Or, in other words, inspire the student to love truth, and then teach him how to find it."

"The objective of education is to develop resources in the student that will contribute to his well-being as long as life endures; to develop power of self-mastery that he may never be a slave to indulgence or other weaknesses;"

I find these quotes from Secrets of a Happy Life by David O. McKay (p. 46-47) so applicable to the study of music. There are so many benefits of music study beyond the satisfaction of playing the piano well. Through the process of learning to play the piano, a student also learns to work persistently at difficult tasks, overcome challenges with patience, appreciate beauty and develop self-mastery. In the end I hope that through teaching piano I can teach help my students develop some of the character traits essential to living a happy life as well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Future Piano Hands

My hands have been a bit busy for piano practice, teaching and blogging lately since the newest addition to our family arrived. I love to watch her discovering her hands and hope that someday she'll discover the joy of playing the piano with them.